Match report Vs AFC Telford UtdVenue: Bucks HeadDate: 26-12-17Att: 1995 (away fans: 600)

26-12-17 - Report - AFC Telford Utd 0 Harriers 0

Harriers get bogged down in the mud

Report: Phil Lench

On a waterlogged Bucks Head pitch it was always going to be a big ask for the Harriers to play their normal style on a bog of a field. That was the case but both teams had to play on it though and it was Telford that coped the better.

On the way to the game Radio Shropshire were saying that the game could be called off even though the groundstaff there were working hard to get the turf drained. On arrival there was still doubt as we watched the players come out of the tunnel to walk across the pitch for the warm up with splashes of water spraying around them. This was going to be fun.

As it was the game didn’t turn out too badly with both sides taking care in the tackles although Joe Ironside did get badly injured in an off the ball incident that the, otherwise decent, referee chose to ignore.

We started the game with two changes to the side that started against Nuneaton Town on Saturday. As expected Tyrone Williams wasn’t risked after the head injury Daniel Nti gave him while a surprising absence was Declan Weeks who was on crutches after a bad knock to his leg in the same game swelled up badly over the few days since then, In came James O’Connor for Williams and Andre Brown for Weeks. Drafted onto the bench was Kennedy Digie who appears to have finished his loan with Stourbridge.

For Telford they had former Reds Jas Singh in goal and Jordan Murphy on the bench for them. Upfront filling out the number nine shirt was the former Wolves striker Sylvain Ebanks-Blake.

It was the hosts that started the game better and ended up in charge for most of the first half with Marcus Dinanga drawing a stunning save out of Brandon Hall when his bullet header from the centre of a ruck of players saw Hall somehow grab the ball out of the air at point blank. We had just seen Mani Sonupè send a week shot in that Singh dealt with easily. Telford had another chance to score when a punch away from Hall landed at the feet of Shane Sutton but he snatched at the chance and sent it onto and over the bar.

We were struggling to deal with the pitch and our task wasn’t being helped by the countless back passes that was putting un-needed pressure on our keeper. Telford had realised early on that the pitch wasn’t conducive to passing the ball back in the mud and rarely did it. We were also misjudging the pace, or lack, of the ball and our passes were either falling short or getting over hit and when we did manage to get the ball the possession wasn’t kept due to it sticking and us falling over it.

It wasn’t until the final ten minutes of the half that we got used to the conditions and began to find team mates. A superbly struck free kick from James McQuilkin forced Singh to tip the fast moving ball over for a corner while Elton N’Gwatala had a shot go close.

Four minutes from the break a flare up occurred when, in the only spate of stupidity, McQuilkin was scythed down and then the off the ball incident on Ironside took place. The physio came on for Ironside and not McQuilkin but the referee wrongly told him to leave the field even though he hadn’t had any treatment. It seems that he realised his error because McQuilkin stayed on but Ironside limped off. He came back on but it was obvious he wouldn’t be out after the break. 

HT: 0 – 0

As expected Ironside didn’t return and Liam Truslove came on in his place. Hopefully we would see a little more threat upfront.

Still we struggled to cope with the conditions and rarely saw a clearcut chance of a goal. The closest we came in the early stages was when N’Gwatala sent a tantalising cross along the front of the goal but Andre Brown just couldn’t quite connect to it properly and Singh saved at the foot of the post with the harriers players and fans both claiming that Singh had carried it over the line. The referee waved away the claims.

Telford had two more chances go over the bar and it made you think that if they had got their shooting boots on we might have been looking at a different scoreline by the end of the game. Dinanga and Sutton were the culprits there. Up our end Truslove and Sam Austin, on for Sonupè combined to break through the Telford defence and play N’Gwatala in but he sent his strong shot over the crossbar once more.

With the seconds ticking away we came close to a late winning goal when Andre Brown got highest at a corner but his header lacked direction and finished up the wrong side of the upright and the game ended up as no goals scored but plenty of muddy fun.

Telford return to us on New Years Day and they’ll see a far different pitch that they gave us today. Let’s just hope that we take better advantage this time and get all of those precious points. W cannot be happy with just the one again.

FT: 0 – 0

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Latest table and stats here

AFC Telford Utd Goals Subs Time Cards
Dwyer   65  
Dinanga   85  
Murphy   85  
Newby   65  
Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Sonupè   73  
Ironside   46  
A Brown        
Truslove   46  
Austin   73  
Mr Sam Mulhall